Days after the Easter Sunday bombings that left 253 dead, the Sri Lankan government on Sunday issued a decree banning all types of face covers, including burqa. The ban will come into effect from Monday, April 29.
President Maithripala Sirisena has included the new rule under the Emergency regulations currently imposed in the island nation, which faced one of the worst terror attacks in his history on April 21.
"The ban is to ensure national security... No one should obscure their faces to make identification difficult," the statement said.
It came days after local Islamic clerics urged Muslim women not to cover their faces amid fears of a backlash after the bombings carried out by jihadists affiliated to the Islamic State group.
Last week, it was reported that Si Lanka had initiated a plan to ban the burqa as interrogation of suspects and other evidence are pointing to the involvement of a large number of women in the Easter Sunday attacks.
The Daily Mirror had quoted sources saying that the government was planning to implement the move in consultation with the mosque authorities.
It has been pointed out that burqa and niqab were never part of the traditional attire of Muslim women in Sri Lanka until the Gulf War in the early 1990s which saw extremist elements introducing the garb to Muslim women.
Defence sources said that a number of female accomplices of incidents in Dematagoda too had escaped wearing burqas, the report said.
A string of powerful blasts, whose responsibility has been claimed by the Islamic State, ripped through three churches and as many luxury hotels frequented by foreigners in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, killing 253 people and injuring more than 500 others, shattering a decade of peace in the country following the end of the brutal civil war with the LTTE.
Forty suspects, including the driver of a van allegedly used by the suicide bombers, have been arrested in connection with the multiple attack.
With Sri Lanka adopting the burqa ban, it has joined the group of nations in Asia, Africa, and Europe that have done so in the interest of preventing terrorists from using the burqa to evade police or hide explosives.
Among the nations that have enacted a ban on the item are Chad, Cameroon, Gabon, Morocco, Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Belgium, and Xinjiang, a Muslim-majority province in northwestern China.